Rita Okoye, Lagos
Daisy Raffan does not need much introduction, as her fashion brand, Beach City AE, speaks volumes for her.
The 29-year-old quite creative boss of Beach City AE – a fashion brand based in Dubai – is concerned about the rate of COVID-19 related deaths in her home country, the United Kingdom (UK).
The young entrepreneur – who hails from the United Kingdom but runs the affairs of Beach City AE in Dubai and other parts of the world – has expressed her views on the negative effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on her people in the UK as well as how it has halted her young, growing business.
“It is so saddening. As at Saturday, April 18, 114,217 have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and sadly, 15,464 have died from the dreaded virus. I hope something is done fast about this. The world is mourning. UK government need to sit up and tackle this,” she said.
“However, in terms of it directly affecting our businesses, it has done quite a lot. When the coronavirus (COVID-19) first started in China, it affected our production there that was urgent for an upcoming launch. We scrambled to move all our production here in the UAE and once we got that started we went into lockdown here also.
“In terms of coronavirus (COVID-19) overall affecting businesses, I think the impact will be huge. Obviously, the fashion business has noticed the effects immediately as consumers are no longer allowed to go out, so there is no need to be buying new clothes. Consumers salaries may have been cut as well, so they will definitely be cutting down on buying non-essential items.
“Once the lockdown restrictions are lifted, I think it will take a long time for businesses to get back to the way they were. With deadstock and cash flows being the major issues,” the young entrepreneur explained.
Speaking on what inspired to start Beach City AE, the pretty fashion icon said, “I have always wanted to own my personal business and I always loved fashion. When I was living in Dubai, I noticed a gap in the market for unique but affordable clothes. There were mainly only high street and mainstream brands in Dubai and any boutiques selling different styles were very expensive.
“I used to travel a lot, so I started by buying clothes from different countries and bringing them back to Dubai to sell. When the business started to grow, I sourced more suppliers online.
“There were also styles I was unable to find such as beachwear, so I started to manufacture our own designs in the UAE.”
On her expectations from the Dubai government to how make the environment friendlier for business people, Daisy Raffan noted, “I think to make it even easier for people who want to start their own business there should be some initiatives to reduce the cost of business setup. It is quite expensive to register and open a new company. Then hire employees, which is obviously difficult for those just starting out.
“Apart from that, I think they are doing the best job to make Dubai a great environment for businesses.”
For those who do not know much about Daisy Raffan, she sheds more information about herself: “I have been living in Dubai since 2008 but I am originally from UK. Growing up I also lived in Spain. I went to boarding school in the UK from the age of 13. Then I moved to Dubai to study business at the American University, Dubai. I did a double major in finance and marketing.
“I knew I wanted to own my own business but at the time I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I went from job to job until I decided that I should just start something. That was how Beach City AE came about.”